Suspected arson attack damages Jerusalem’s Jewish-Arab school
Haaretz 30 Nov by Nir Hasson/Jonathan Lis/Yarden Skop — Assailants spray ‘There’s no coexisting with cancer’ wall of the country’s largest bilingual school; Mayor Barkat: We will not allow pyromaniacs to disrupt our lives — A fire caused damage to Jerusalem’s Hebrew-Arabic bilingual school on Saturday evening. Police and fire services suspect arson as hateful phrases were also sprayed on the building, reading “Kahane was right” and “There’s no coexisting with cancer.” The fire broke out at the playground in the school, and was extinguished by emergency crews. The Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School is the country’s largest Jewish-Arab institution. It has been co-run by a Jewish and an Arab principal since its founding in 1998 by the Hand in Hand non-governmental organization. Over the past few months the school was repeatedly targeted by right-wing vandals, who have sprayed racist graffiti against Arabs on its walls … Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the incident: “We will not allow pyromaniacs and criminals who take the law into their own hands to disrupt our daily lives,” he said. Barkat added: “We will continue to denounce the extremists and do whatever it takes to restore the quiet to Jerusalem.” He said he has spoken to the Jerusalem Police chief “whose top priority is the investigation and the security of Jerusalem’s children.” A number of Knesset members spoke out against the attack.
‘We will overcome’: Arson and mourning at Jerusalem’s bilingual school
[with photos] 972mag 30 Nov by Orly Noy — The mixed Jewish-Arab school has been the target of racist attacks in the past, but for the parents, students and teachers of the ‘Hand in Hand’ school, this feels different. ‘This time, the fire was ignited inside our home.’ — The timing couldn’t have been more “perfect”: while I was still at a demonstration against the “Jewish Nation-State Law” outside the Prime Minister’s Office, I got a message saying that the bilingual school was set on fire. Here we were demonstrating against political arson, and not too far away someone is already doing it with gasoline and matches. This time, the fire was ignited inside our home. The smell of fire is still very strong in the parking lot across from the school. Slowly slowly, parents, teachers, students and recent graduates begin to arrive. Nobody is in a hurry to go inside, as if we fear actually seeing what we expect there, all while we’re still trying to figure out exactly what happened and the extent of the damage. “A first grade classroom was completely burned,” somebody says, “and the other first-grade classroom sustained serious damage, too.” The blood drains from our faces. They burned the first-grade classrooms? The classrooms in which children for the first time in their lives scribbled letters into words: “love, friendship, respect?” … An outsider wouldn’t understand it, the deep feeling of belonging. That’s how it always works here: when it gets tough, we want to be together … As we get to work, we are reminded of other episodes in our history in which the school faced harassment: that time that they went into the lower classes and covered with glue all of the desks that bore names of Arab children; or in the school’s previous building when they slid burning pieces of paper under the doors in a more symbolic act of arson. All of the hateful and garbled graffiti sprayed on our walls over the years.
Israelis attack Palestinian at tram stop near Jerusalem Old City
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 Nov — Israelis assaulted a Palestinian man at a light rail station near the Old City of Jerusalem early Sunday, the man told Ma‘an. Majdi Majid Najib, 26, told Ma‘an he was trying to buy a ticket to go to work in West Jerusalem when five Israelis attacked him and started to beat him. One of the Israelis hit him with a steel bar before the five them fled the scene, Najib said. He said Israeli security guards were present in the area but did not intervene or arrest the attackers. Najib sustained foot injuries and was taken to the al-Maqasid Hospital in the al-Tur neighborhood.
Palestinian woman shot after stabbing Israeli settler
JERUSALEM (AFP/Ma‘an) 1 Dec — The Israeli army shot and wounded a Palestinian woman on Monday after she stabbed an Israeli settler near a Jewish settlement bloc in the southern West Bank, the Israeli military said. Palestinian sources identified the woman as 22-year-old Amal Jihad Taqatqa from the nearby town of Beit Fajjar. The Israeli, said to be a 19-year-old woman, suffered minor injuries in the stabbing at a major crossroads near the Gush Etzion bloc, south of Bethlehem, the army said in a statement. Israeli police said in an initial statement that the woman was shot after stabbing a soldier. “Security forces on site overpowered the suspect and transferred her for further medical assistance,” the statement said. Eyewitnesses said a group of Israeli soldiers opened fire heavily at Taqatqa from a distance of around 20 meters. She was shot four times and taken to Hadassah hospital, where she is said to be in a critical condition. Locals in Beit Fajjar told Ma‘an that over 30 Israeli military vehicles stormed the town shortly after the incident and ransacked Taqatqa’s family home.
VIDEO: Non-violent protest met with tear gas and stun grenades
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Khalil Team) 29 Nov — Video by Christian Peacemaker Teams — Today in al-Khalil (Hebron) families gathered to stage a peaceful demonstration protesting the continuing closure of the Shuhada checkpoint. The rally consisted of approximately 50 Palestinians, of all ages. The protesters met outside of the closed checkpoint at 1 pm, armed with nothing but Palestinian flags. The protest moved towards the checkpoint, as soon as it reached the checkpoint´s outer barrier the soldiers from the other side threw a tear gas grenade and two stun grenades at the dense group of protesters. The protesters dispersed immediately, elderly men had to be assisted by other protesters due to tear gas inhalation. Several young Palestinian boys then threw stones at the checkpoint, but were stopped by other protesters. The dispersed demonstrators stayed in the area near the checkpoint after the first aggression by the Israeli occupation forces, but several more tear gas grenades and stun grenades forced the protesters to leave the area completely. Young Palestinian boys then began to throw stones again and clashes broke out. The soldiers responded to the stones with excessive amounts of tear gas and stun grenades. Much of the tear gas was either deployed or drifted into the busy business streets in the Bab a-Zawiya area, affecting hundreds of Palestinians … Shuhada checkpoint has been closed for the past 8 days as part of a policy of collective punishment directed at the Palestinians in surrounding neighbourhoods after the checkpoint was burnt during clashes last Friday.
Israeli settlers attack Palestinian’s house in Al-Bireh
RAMALLAH (PNN) 30 Nov — Dozens of settlers from the illegal “Psagot” Settlement, built on Palestinian lands on Al-Bireh City, on Saturday attacked a Palestinian house in Jabal Al-Taweel east of Al-Bireh near Ramallah, occupied West Bank. The settlers surrounded the house that belongs to Palestinian citizen Yusuf Allan Qar’an, and threw stones at it breaking the window glass. However, no casualties were reported. A group of youngsters and residents of the area gathered and threw stones at the settlers who soon ran away. Israeli Police then interfered by throwing teargas grenades and sound bombs at the Palestinian youngsters to halt the clashes and take the settlers back to their settlement. The settlers left the heavily guarded settlement through one of the main gates and attacked the house that is only 10 meters away.
Israel ‘gun guards’ terrorise East Jerusalem
Al Jazeera 30 Nov by Emily Mulder — Outsourcing security in East Jerusalem helps Israel abdicate responsibility for violations it authorises, analysts say — In Silwan, a neighbourhood at the heart of rising tensions in occupied East Jerusalem, private security guards are contracted by Israel to protect Jewish settlers through cooperation with police and military forces, residents say. “These guards do the policemen’s jobs here,” Ahmad Qaraeen, who lives in the Silwan neighbourhood of Wadi Hilweh, told Al Jazeera. “They need to arrest us? It’s easy for them. They need to close our streets? It’s easy for them too… We feel that these gun guards are the settlers’ army.” In the 1990s, following an increase in suicide attacks by Palestinians in Jerusalem, the Israeli government stationed private guards at schools, restaurants, commercial complexes, and government and municipal buildings in the city. Since then, private security has become a massive industry across Israel. The government also relies on independent contractors to bolster security apparatuses in the occupied territories, including privatised checkpoints. The budget for security services in East Jerusalem has grown from NIS 7m ($1.81m) in 1991 to NIS 76m ($19.69m), according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). Haaretz recently reported that the amount of government funds allocated to security for settlers in East Jerusalem had reached NIS 100m ($26m) in 2014 alone, in the wake of recent violence …Outsourcing security helps Israel abdicate social and moral responsibility for violations it authorises, according to analyst Neve Gorden: “From a political perspective, outsourcing is beneficial because even if the abuses are exposed, they are frequently presented to the public as having been perpetrated by someone else.” Wadi Hilweh residents say they experience the effects of this impunity on a regular basis. “We don’t know who they are,” Qaraeen said. “If they come to arrest or shoot someone, sometimes they even wear masks.” Unlike government forces, private guards also have no official uniform or identification badge….
Spy balloons give police new view of Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AP) 26 Nov by Aron Heller and Ami Bentov — Israeli police are watching from above in their attempts to keep control in Jerusalem in the face of the city’s worst wave of violence in nearly a decade. Police have been flying surveillance balloons over the city’s eastern sector and Old City — the location of its most sensitive holy sites — to monitor protests and move in on them quickly. They say the puffy white balloons, which carry a rotating spherical camera pod, have greatly helped quell the unrest. But the eyes in the sky are unnerving Palestinians. “They want to discover everything that’s going on. (They see) who is going, who is coming, who is that person,” said Imad Muna, who works at a local bookstore. The Israeli company that makes the Skystar 180 aerostat system says the balloons can stay in the air for 72 hours and carry highly sensitive cameras.
Israel makes Palestinian family pay for synagogue attack
AFP 27 Nov — Nadia Abu Jamal’s world has fallen apart since her husband’s deadly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue: Israeli authorities have ordered the demolition of their home and revoked her residency rights. The widow of Ghassan Abu Jamal is especially fearful for her three children, Walid, six, Salma, four, and three-year-old Mohammed. Their 31-year-old father and his cousin Uday, 22, launched a brazen attack on a Jerusalem synagogue on November 18. Armed with meat cleavers and a pistol, they killed four rabbis and a policeman before being shot dead by police, in the city’s deadliest attack in six years. Israel has retaliated by ordering the demolition of the Abu Jamal house and ordering Nadia back to her native West Bank. The children, however, will be allowed to stay in Jerusalem where they were born but as punishment for their father’s crime they have lost all social benefits, including medical coverage. Mohammed, the youngest, has a heart condition, and Nadia does not know how she will be able to care for him anymore. “My children have already lost their father. Now they want to destroy the only home they ever had and send me away,” said Nadia, holding Mohammed in her arms. She wears a black veil that brings out the palour of her face, and tears swell up in her eyes. “What wrong have my children done?” she cries out … After she was served demolition orders by the Israeli authorities, Nadia emptied the house and moved next door to stay with her mother-in-law. The family has appealed the demolition order, and now they are anxiously awaiting word from Israel’s supreme court.
PCHR report on Israeli human rights violations in the oPt (20-26 Nov 2014)
IMEMC-Gaza 1 Dec — Israeli attacks in the West Bank & Gaza: Shootings: During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a bird hunter in northern border area in the Gaza Strip, while a shepherd was killed due to the explosion of a landmine of the Israeli forces’ military remnants in the northern Jordan Valley in the West Bank. Additionally, 22 Palestinian civilians, including 9 children and a woman, were wounded; 20 of whom were in the West Bank and 2 were in the Gaza Strip. In the West Bank, on 23 November 2014, a landmine of the Israeli forces’ military remnants exploded and killed a 43-year-old shepherd in the northern Jordan valley, east of Tubas. On 20 November 2014, 4Palestinian civilians were wounded when Israeli forces moved into Askar refugee camp, northeast of Nablus. On the same day, a Palestinian child sustained a bullet wound to the right leg when Israeli forces moved into Deir al-Hatab village, northeast of Nablus. In addition, a 16-year-old child sustained a fracture in the leg when he fell to the ground while Israeli soldiers were chasing the protestors. On 22 November 2014, Israeli forces fired a sound bomb at a 45-year-old civilian in Sho’fat neighbourhood, north of East Jerusalem. As a result, he sustained minor wounds to the leg. On 25 November 2014, Israeli forces fired a gas canister at a 55-year-old civilian and his 18-year-old son while heading to a condolence house, east of the Old City in East Jerusalem. As a result, they sustained shrapnel wounds. In the same context, Israeli forces used excessive force against peaceful protests organised by Palestinian civilians, international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest at the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities in the West Bank. As a result, 4 civilians, including 2 children and a woman, were wounded in al-Nabi Saleh weekly protest, northwest of Ramallah. In addition, a 17-year-old child sustained a bullet wound to the left leg in Kufor Qaddoum weekly protest, northeast of Qalqilya, while 7 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children,were wounded in other protests. In the Gaza Strip, in excessive use of force, on 23 November 2014, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian, east of Jabalia, while hunting birds … Incursions: During the reporting period,Israeli forces conducted at least 39 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 60Palestinians, including 7 children, 3 women and 3 photojournalists. Twenty-one of these civilians, including 4children, the 3 women and 3 photojournalists,were arrested in Jerusalem…. Full Report
Prisoners / Court actions
Settlers get 30 months in prison for arson in Palestinian village
Ynet 1 Dec by Naama Cohen-Friedman — Two Jewish settlers who admitted to setting fire to vehicles in the Palestinian village of Far’ata in the West Bank signed a plea bargain Sunday that will see them serving 30 months in prison. The prosecution said that in light of the fact that the two men, Yehuda Landsberg and Yehuda Sabir, took responsibility for their actions, the two should receive “the minimum sentence” for their crime. A third defendant, Binyamin Richter, claimed he was innocent and his trial will continue. The three men, residents of the Havat Gilad outpost in the West Bank, stocked up with flammable material, spray paint, gloves and face masks and burned a truck and other vehicles in the Palestinian village on November 18, 2013.In addition, they spray-painted a Star of David on a stone wall in the village. Landsberg and Sabir were convicted of conspiracy to commit a crime motivated by racism, arson in a group, and corrupting land in a group motivated by racism. Even though this is not the first incident involving the two men, the prosecution argued that in view of the fact they cooperated with law enforcement officials and took responsibility for their actions, their punishments should be lenient. According to the prosecution, the two men “have expressed remorse for their actions, expressed understanding of the mistake they made to investigators and expressed their desire to deviate from this path that they chose and to act according to the law even in circumstances where they are not happy with the situation in the area inhabited by the Palestinian community.”
3 charged with plotting Temple Mount attack
JTA 30 Nov — Aborted Plan Targeted Yehuda Glick and Moshe Feiglin — Three Palestinian men were indicted for planning to attack activist Yehuda Glick and right-wing lawmaker Moshe Feiglin during a visit to the Temple Mount. The men, ages 18 to 21 from eastern Jerusalem, were charged over the weekend with conspiracy to injure a person using weapons and with nationalistic motivation. The attack was to occur on Oct. 30, the day after Glick was shot four times outside the Menachem Begin Center in Jerusalem after taking part in a conference in which he spoke about the Jewish right to pray on the Temple Mount. Feiglin attended the conference. According to the indictment, the men planned to attack Feiglin and Glick, who were scheduled to bring a group to the site, with firecrackers and stones, which would serve to intimidate and possibly injure them. They planned to escape by running into the Al-Aksa Mosque and blending in with worshippers at morning services.
Jerusalem Fatah leader sentenced to 5 months without trial
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 Nov — Israeli authorities on Sunday decided to jail the secretary-general of the Fatah movement in Jerusalem for five months without trial, a Palestinian Prisoner’s Society lawyer said. PPS lawyer Mufid al-Hajj said in a statement that Fatah leader Ahmad Gheith was sentenced to five months administrative detention. Gheith was detained last Tuesday along with his brother Sadiq after Israeli troops raided the Silwan neighborhood and ransacked his family home. Sadiq was sentenced on Friday to six months administrative detention. “Administrative detention is a revengeful system and an abusive practice that the Israeli occupation authorities adopted during Palestinian uprisings,” al-Hajj said in the statement. He said that during the First Intifada, Israeli forces issued some 19,000 administrative detention orders, and about 18,000 during the Second Intifada. Under the policy of administrative detention, Israeli forces can hold Palestinians as prisoners without charge or trial, sometimes indefinitely.
Israeli court releases woman jailed while visiting husband
JENIN (Ma‘an) 30 Nov – An Israeli magistrate court in Beersheba on Sunday decided to release a Palestinian woman who was detained last Thursday while visiting her jailed husband in Eshel prison, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society reported Sunday. In a statement, the PPS said Nihal al-Ghawadra, 30, from Jenin was freed without bail. Al-Ghawadra and her children were detained while visiting her jailed husband Muammar al-Ghawadra in Israel’s Eshel jail.
Police stand firm on banning Yehuda Glick from Temple Mount
Haaretz 1 Dec by Nir Hasson — Out of hospital after attempted hit on his life, religious activist appeals against condition of his release after August arrest over alleged assault at holy site — The Israel Police continues to oppose allowing Yehuda Glick to visit the Temple Mount, its representative told the Jerusalem District Court Sunday during deliberations on the right-wing activist’s appeal of the ban. The ban against Glick’s entering the area predates the assassination attempt he survived in late October as he emerged from a conference in Jerusalem about the Temple Mount. The prohibition was a condition of his release on bail after he was arrested in August on suspicion of assaulting a member of the Muslim women’s guard at the site, whose Arabic name is Haram al-Sharif, the noble sanctuary. The risk such a visit would pose to public order “has increased since the assassination attempt, not decreased,” the police representative told the court. Some two weeks before he was shot, Glick was charged with pushing Ziva Badarna, 67, during a visit to the Temple Mount in late August. According to the charge sheet, the two were arguing when Glick shoved Badarna, causing her to fall and break her arm. The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court granted the police request that Glick be barred from the Temple Mount for the duration of the legal proceedings against him.
[Israeli extremists invade yards of Al-Aqsa mosque]
IMEMC/Agencies 30 Nov — …On Sunday at dawn, dozens of Israeli extremists invaded the yards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, through the al-Magharba Gate, in occupied East Jerusalem, and conducted provocative acts against several Muslim worshipers. Local sources said that dozens of soldiers accompanied nearly 50 settlers, in what was described as a “tour program,” before the settlers started shouting at Muslim worshipers, and demanded the army to remove them. The soldiers also increased their deployment near the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and withheld the ID cards of dozens of women and young men, before allowing them to enter the mosque.
Israel arrests 13 Palestinians in West Bank; number of Palestinians arrested in November reaches 536
HEBRON, November 30, 2014 (WAFA) – At least 13 Palestinians were arrested by the Israeli forces in the West Bank and Jerusalem during the past 24 hours, bringing up the total number of Palestinians arrested during November to 536, most of whom are minors, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC). In Hebron, army forces stormed al-Fawwar refugee camp, north of the city, and arrested six Palestinians … PCC said the detainees were beaten up by army soldiers during the arrest. Meanwhile, army broke through the nearby towns of Beit Ummar and Beit Kahil, where they arrested two local residents, who were identified as Montaser Khalil and Imad-Eddine Asafra, 16. In the meantime, army forces arrested two Palestinian youngsters in the village of ‘Azzoun, to the east of Qalqilia, following confrontations which erupted in the village last night. They were identified as Mohammad Salim, 22, and Murad Salim, 23. In Bethlehem, army stormed the village of Teku‘, to the south of the city, and arrested teenager Ahmad Umour. Earlier at night, Israeli police arrested five Palestinians across occupied East Jerusalem.
Soldiers kidnap eight Palestinians in Hebron and Bethlehem
IMEMC/Agencies 30 Nov — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday at dawn, the southern West Bank districts of Hebron and Bethlehem district, and kidnapped eight Palestinians. Clashes also took place after several Israeli military vehicles invaded Beit Ummar town, near Hebron. In Surif town, near Hebron, soldiers invaded several homes and ransacked them before kidnapping two Palestinians identified as Abed Hosni Abu ar-Reesh, 22, and ‘Aahed Abu Fara, 25. A third Palestinian was kidnapped in the town while heading back home from Jericho; he has been identified as Ayman Mohammad Barad’eyya, 22. Local sources said soldiers also invaded his family home, and confiscated a computer. Soldiers also invaded Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, and kidnapped Montaser Fathi Ekhlayyel, 23, who works as a guard of the local town council. Mohammad Awad, spokesperson of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar, said several soldiers stormed the home of Ekhlayyel, violently searched it causing property damage, tore pictures of late President Yasser Arafat, before forcing Ekhlayyel’s father to take them where his son works, and kidnapped the son … A number of armored military jeeps also invaded Beit ‘Awwa town, southeast of Hebron, while many soldiers patrolled in its streets before withdrawing later on. In addition, soldiers invaded the al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron, and Beit Kahel town, north of the city, and kidnapped two Palestinians. Dozens of soldiers also invaded the Teqoua’ town, east of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, searched and ransacked several homes, and kidnapped two Palestinians.
In related news, local sources in occupied East Jerusalem said the soldiers and the police have kidnapped thirteen Palestinian workers for “entering the city and working there without a permit.” The soldiers also kidnapped a former political prisoner in the city.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement
Activists block Jericho road to protest East Jerusalem land grab
[with photos] Mondoweiss 30 Nov by Annie Robbins — A peaceful protest by activists from Palestinian popular committees successfully blocked the Jerusalem – Jericho road Friday in their ongoing protest against Israeli policies to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian Bedouin communities from “Area C”. As Stop the Wall reported here last month, Israel has accelerated “the infrastructure construction to build the West Bank Bantustans…systematically suffocating the Palestinian communities to force them to leave the area.” Accompanied by international solidarity activists, they confronted heavily armed Israeli forces who used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse them. In September 2014 Israel published plans (#1418 and #1419) to forcefully evict thousands of Bedouins from their residences in Area C (although they didn’t use those words) and corral them into a new “Bedouin township” in Nuweimeh near Jericho, thus clearing the area for the expansion of illegal Israeli settlement around Ma’ale Adumim, Kefar Adumim, Rimonim, Yitav and other settlements in the area. According to the Jahalin Association, the plans would have the effect of “judaising [the land] from East Jerusalem down to Jericho.”
Israeli forces deliver stop-work orders in Beit Ummar
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 30 Nov – Israeli forces delivered stop-work orders to two Palestinian citizens in the town of Beit Ummar north of Hebron in the southern West Bank, a local committee spokesman said Sunday. Muhammad Ayyad Awad of the Beit Ummar committee against the wall and settlements told Ma‘an that an Israeli force escorted the Civil Administration’s planning and construction chief to the Safa area north of Beit Ummar. The Civil Administration official delivered stop-work orders to Munir Ahmad Radwan Ikhlayyil demanding that he stop work in his two-story house. Awad said that the house measures 270 square meters and was ready for dwelling. In addition, the Israelis delivered a similar stop-work order to Zaal Rashid Abu Dayya demanding that he stop work in a cement-made sheep farm he has been building which measures 350 square meters. Awad added that Israeli troops stormed several other structures under construction including houses and irrigation pools in area classified as “C” according to Oslo Accords.
Dozens protest closure of Hebron main street to Palestinians
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 29 Nov — Dozens of Palestinians attended a sit-in on Saturday in protest against the Israeli closure of a major Hebron street to Palestinian traffic for the last nine days. Issa Amro, coordinator of a local activist group against Israeli settlements, said that Israeli soldiers fired stun grenades and tear-gas bombs at protesters on Shuhada Street in the center of Hebron’s Old City. Dozens suffered from tear-gas inhalation as a result. Amro said that Israeli authorities have been helping Jewish settlers empty Shuhada Street of its Palestinian residents for the last two decades, and that the closure directly affected the approximately 250 families still living on the street. Israeli forces have severely restricted Palestinian access to Shuhada Street since 1994, turning the heart of Hebron’s bustling Old City into a heavily militarized ghost town as part of what they say is an effort to provide security to around 500 Jewish settlers who have taken over homes and evicted residents in the area. Despite the closure of the street itself, however, Palestinians have to cross the area to move around central Hebron, and the checkpoint closure for the last nine days has caused severe disruptions.
[WATCH] Druze refusal in the Israeli army: Land expropriation (part two)
Israeli Social TV [English subtitles) 27 Nov — According to the mainstream Israeli narrative the Druze population in Israel is loyal to and maintains an alliance with the state, the most famous element of which includes mandatory military service. But is that really the whole story? The second episode in this four-part series looks at how despite drafting Druze men into the army, the State of Israel took over 85 percent of their land and settled Jews on it instead. (Watch part one of the series: ‘A history lesson’.)
Chinese olim have Golani Brigade in their sights
Ynet 29 Nov by Itamar Eichner — Three members of the ancient Jewish community of Kaifeng who made aliya five years ago are about to enlist in the IDF, and all three want to join the fabled combat unit — All three were born in China, in the ancient Jewish community in Kaifeng. They immigrated to Israel some five years ago and recently completed their conversion and naturalization processes. In two weeks, they’ll report to the Israel Defense Forces’ Induction Center in Tel Hashomer and join the army.
Israel rejects Turkish aid to end Gaza power crisis
World Bulletin 30 Nov — Palestinian National Economy Minister Mohamed Mustafa said Sunday that the Israeli authorities have officially rejected the proposal of having a Turkish floating power-generating ship near the Gaza Strip coast to help solve the electricity crisis in the embattled enclave. “The Israeli rejection [to the proposal] requires us to exert more efforts to solve the electricity problem in Gaza,” Mustafa said in a statement. “The past few days have seen an increase in the operations of the electricity sector, extending for eight consecutive hours instead of the usual five,” he added. “We’re currently waiting for the Israelis to extend power lines in order to increase supply to the electricity sector,” Mustafa said. Since 2012, electricity in the Gaza Strip has been operating according to a rotation system; it works for six hours in some areas and cuts off for another six hours to provide other areas with power … Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz announced in mid-August that Turkey was planning to send a 100 megawatt power-generating ship to Gaza. The plan was awaiting Israeli approval, which was reportedly granted “in principle” last month.
Egypt opens Rafah for 2nd consecutive day
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Dec — Palestinian travelers stranded in Egypt for weeks are expected to return to Gaza Monday as Rafah remains open for the second consecutive day. The Palestinian crossings commission in Gaza said the terminal will operate from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m., with some 238 Palestinians expected to return. The crossing was open for two days last week after Egypt had kept it closed for over a month, leaving over 4,000 Palestinians stranded in Egypt and other countries. Meanwhile, a Gaza crossings official told Ma‘an that 400 trucks of goods, including humanitarian aid and construction materials, were expected to enter Gaza via the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing on Monday. Diesel fuel for industrial use and domestic-use gas are also expected to be shipped.
Israeli military boats target Gaza fishermen
GAZA (PNN) 28 Nov — Israeli occupation military boats showered Palestinian fishing boats with machine gun fire, Friday, off As-Sudaneyya shore northwest of Gaza Strip. It was reported that random fire shots were heard in the area before it was found out that the shots were targeting small rowing boats. There were no casualties reported.
Israel navy shoots at Gaza fishing boats
Middle East Monitor 30 Nov — Israel’s navy on Saturday opened its fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the Gaza Strip, a man speaking for the blockaded enclave’s fishermen said. “There have been, however, no casualties from the shooting,” Nizar Ayyash, the head of Gaza’s fishermen’s union, told Anadolu Agency. He said in shooting at the boats, the Israeli navy claimed that they had gone beyond six nautical miles specified for fishing activities by the Palestinians off the coast of the Gaza Strip.The Israeli navy routinely shoots at Palestinian fishing boats under the pretext that they go beyond fishing space specified for them, Ayyash said
Gaza’s pregnant women suffer
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip 30 Nov by Rasha Abou Jalal — In labor and finding the pain unbearable, Asmaa Faraj, a 26-year-old mother, was unable to deliver her first baby in a hospital. Instead, her mother took control of the situation and helped her give birth at home during the recent Israeli war on Gaza. “The shelling was heavy on the night of July 18. Going to a hospital was a great risk. My family could not flee the house, so we remained there, to keep my baby safe. We tried to call the ambulance to pick us up and take us to a health center, but they were all busy with the wounded,” Asmaa told Al-Monitor. She said she had no other choice but to let her inexperienced mother help her to deliver. Asmaa’s mother, in her 50s, said she had never imagined that she would have to help her daughter give birth someday, as she had never before delivered a baby. “I used a kitchen knife to cut the umbilical cord and threads from clothing to stitch up the wound. There were great risks, but I pulled it off,” she said. While Asmaa was lucky enough to hold her first child, whom she named Bakr, in her arms, Rasha Abu Awdah was not. She died, at the age of 30, two hours after her baby was delivered … According to Sawsan Hamad, head of the Women and Children’s Health Department at the Ministry of Health in Gaza, “About 250 women died during the Israeli war, 16 of whom were pregnant, in addition to four others who died because of complications after birth and lack of necessary health services. This is not to mention that 500 pregnant women were wounded because of the shelling and displacement.” Hamad added, “These figures are not final. These were the cases we could count, but the figures seem to be much greater.
Photos: Floods hit Gaza as war-hit infrastructure struggles
Activestills 28 Nov — Photos and reporting: Basel Yazouri — The latest storm to hit the eastern Mediterranean region flooded large areas of Gaza City this week. The Al-Nafeq neighborhood, one of the lowest areas of Gaza City, suffered from severe flooding, exacerbated by the damage Gaza’s civilian infrastructure sustained during the war with Israel this past summer. Entire streets were flooded with as much as 1.5 meters of water. A number of people, primarily the elderly and children, were rescued from the hardest-hit areas by emergency responders. The homes in the neighborhood, many of which haven’t yet been repaired since the war, are now sustaining water damage. A large number of residents, having only returned to their homes in recent weeks since the war, were forced to take their belongings and leave once again.
Bones found beneath Gazan mobile homes for the displaced
[with video] GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Nov — A number of Palestinians residing in temporary homes as a result of their displacement by Israel’s summer assault were startled to discover bones and skulls in the dirt being used to anchor their homes over the past few days. The displaced families, formerly residents of the destroyed al-Najjar neighborhood in the city of Khuzaa east of Khan Younis, found the human remains beneath their mobile homes after heavy rains in the past week swept much of the dirt away, revealing the bones. Palestinian journalist Muthana al-Najjar told Ma’an via telephone on Saturday that residents of the mobile homes found the remains under dirt that had been brought from beside a cemetery in Deir al-Balah to help anchor the homes. He said that the bones and skulls could not possibly belong to people killed during Israel’s recent war on Gaza, and he said that those who found the bones gathered them in bags and immediately reburied them in the area. Sheikh Ibrahim Darwish, the director of religious endowments in central Gaza, told Ma‘an that the cemetery that the dirt had been brought from from was more than 100 years old, and that the earth was taken through an agreement with the Ministry of Public Works and Housing in order to prepare the area for new graves.
Gaza quiet shows Hamas’ pragmatism / Aaron Magid
972blog 26 Nov — Despite violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank, for the past three months Hamas has maintained calm on the Gaza border – curbing rocket-fire against Israel — Opponents of Hamas often accuse the Islamist organization of acting irrationally. In a National Review article titled, “Hamas’ Suicidal Tendencies,” the author writes, “[w]hy is Hamas pursuing such a self-destructive strategy? Ideology.” Yet, in the months since the Gaza war, Hamas’ leadership in Gaza has repeated its pragmatic approach by not launching rockets into Israel, instead choosing to downgrade its ideology so that it may fight Israel more effectively in the next war. After the bloody summer war, the Gaza-Israel border has remained remarkably quiet. Hamas has deployed a special unit to guard its border with Israel and prevent smaller militant groups from shooting rockets at Israel. A Hamas security source told Al-Monitor, “Gaza’s border will not be violated by group firing rockets at Israel in light of a national consensus for a cease-fire.” Hamas security forces have been successful in preserving the calm — only one rocket has been fired in three months at Israel — despite the growing unrest in Jerusalem and the West Bank. After this rare cease-fire violation on October 31, Hamas criticized those responsible and quickly arrested the five suspected individuals. This dramatic reduction in Gaza attacks dispels another myth: that Hamas is incapable of cracking down on other Gaza militants.
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Greece
Palestinian refuge for 6 decades, now flooded from Syria
SHATILA CAMP, Lebanon 28 Nov by Anne Barnard — An enormous iron key hangs on a water tower above a crossroads in the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila, just south of downtown Beirut. The sculpture alludes to the rusting keys that many families here treasure, from houses lost when they fled what became Israel in 1948. Now, a new wave of refugees, this time from Syria, has roughly doubled the population of Shatila and the neighboring camp, Sabra, to 40,000, aid workers say. The newcomers, pouring into narrow streets and cramped concrete-block apartments, are among more than a million people who have streamed from Syria into Lebanon — a country of four million when the war started — and are radically reshaping neighborhoods like these … The words Sabra and Shatila resonate as a symbol of the vulnerability of refugees. They are not just the names of the camps, but shorthand for the notorious massacre there in 1982, when Lebanese Christian militants killed Palestinian civilians as Israeli troops encircling the area stood by. They also stand for grinding poverty. “Camps” is a misnomer for settlements that decades ago grew into unplanned but densely built urban slums. Yusef al-Masri, 46, a Palestinian born and raised in Shatila, said his grandmother had often recounted what her family planned 66 years ago when they left their town in the Galilee — Safat, called Safad by Israelis — during the war over Israel’s founding. “They said, ‘We will leave everything and come back in three days,’ ” he recalled. “We didn’t.” He predicted a similar fate for the Syrians, blaming global and Arab leaders, who, he declared, would “sell Syria as they sold Palestine.”
Syrian refugees in Europe: the law is not on their side
Al Jazeera 30 Nov by Menelaos Tzafalias — More than 150 Syrian war refugees, old men, women and babies among them, have been protesting peacefully opposite the Greek parliament in the heart of Athens since November 19. Some of them have been on a hunger strike since Monday and several have been hospitalised. They demand nothing more and nothing less than the equivalent of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, as Thomas Jefferson wrote in the US declaration of independence. But to actually put this into practice, they must defy laws currently in place in the European Union, of which Greece is a member. The refugees, who have even set up a dedicated Facebook page, want to leave Greece with adequate travel documents. They want to pursue happiness in other European nations, where they believe conditions will be better for them compared to the crisis-hit country where they are currently stuck, having escaped war and ruthless traffickers … Syrians, of course, are not the only foreigners suffering. Palestinians, who for years were living as refugees in Syria, have seen their lives once again torn inside out. And never mind those seeking to escape the permanent pain of the West Bank and Gaza. This recently was put in the spotlight by the story of a young Palestinian girl who left Syria for Europe with her parents. Her parents drowned at sea when traffickers rammed their boat. Approximately 500 souls were lost. Masa Dasouki survived, to face a different kind of ordeal, as she is now living in an Athens orphanage and for the moment cannot be reunited with her uncle, who got asylum in Sweden. The situation has grown worse for Iraqis, too. Moreover, the situation for all migrants in Greece, simply is bad. A new documentary by acclaimed Palestinian film-maker Mahdi Fleifel illustrates one aspect.
Israel’s internal brain drain: Arab talent going to waste
Haaretz 27 Nov by Jihad El-Sana & David Zonsheine — The problem isn’t only Israelis leaving the country, it’s that talented people are shut outside the academic establishment — There are many reasons why Israel gained the reputation of a high-tech powerhouse and dramatic force in the world of startups. One is Israel’s scientific strength in fields relevant to high-tech. The Shanghai Ranking of world universities shows that no fewer than four Israeli schools – the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, the Weizmann Institute, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University – are among the world’s top fifty universities in computer science, for instance. However, Israel’s potential is far from being fully exploited, because two communities that together account for nearly a third of Israel’s population – Israeli Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews – do not participate in this academic excellence. Consequently, potentially talented people remain outside the talent pool. It is true that about 20% of computer science students at the Technion and more than 40% of computer science students at Haifa University are Arabs. But only two of 270 computer science professors are Arabs (which is just 0.7%).
Arab League backs Palestinian push for statehood
AFP 29 Nov — The Arab League on Saturday backed Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s plan to seek UN endorsement for a timetable for declaring an independent state, and rejected recognising Israel as a Jewish nation. But the extraordinary meeting of Arab foreign ministers, which Abbas attended, did not announce when they would approach the United Nations Security Council. A statement said the ministers agreed a plan which includes submitting an “Arab proposal to the United Nations Security Council to end the (Israeli) occupation,” of Palestinian land. The 22-member bloc also said they support plans by Abbas to said in a statement. It also backed Palestinian plans to seek membership in UN agencies and international courts.
Jordan to present Palestine resolution in days – Arab League
CAIRO (Reuters) 19 Nov — Jordan, an Arab member of the U.N. Security Council, will formally present “in the next few days” a draft resolution setting a timeframe for the creation of a Palestinian state, Arab League chief Nabil al-Araby said. “The Palestinian issue has been circulated in the past, but what is new today is that the Arab states and Palestine decided to go to the Security Council, through Jordan, with an Arab draft resolution,” he said, after an Arab League foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo.
Abbas concludes official visit to Cairo
CAIRO (WAFA) 30 Nov — President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday concluded an official three-day visit to Egypt, during which he attended an extraordinary Arab Foreign Ministers meeting that was designated to discussing a draft resolution setting a two-year deadline for ending the Israeli occupation. During the conference, Abbas warned that the Palestinian people could no longer sustain the status quo imposed by Israel, stressing that “if we don’t receive any response from Israel, we will officially submit the draft resolution to the UN Security Council and sign the applications to accede to international organizations and conventions, including the International Criminal Court.” Abbas is yet to mobilize more support from the international community for a potential Palestinian bid in the UN Security Council to end the Israeli occupation and achieve Palestinian independence.
Hamas: Palestinian unity govt has expired
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an)30 Nov — The national consensus government declared by Hamas and Fatah this summer has finished its interim term, the Hamas movement said Sunday. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a news conference in Gaza City that the unity government’s six-month term had expired, and that dialogue should be resumed on a national level to discuss the future of the government. Any decision on whether the government should be disbanded or continued or be reshuffled must be made only through national dialogue and consensus, Abu Zuhri said. Hamas “isn’t interested in incitement, but rather seeks to maintain national unity,” he said. He stressed that the Hamas movement “does not control the Gaza Strip at all. … If the national consensus government doesn’t want to take responsibility for Gaza, this doesn’t mean the government is exempted from this responsibility.” Abu Zuhri went on to criticize the Palestinian Authority for making what he called politically motivated arrests. So far in November, 80 Palestinians have been detained in the West Bank for political affiliation, he said, adding that 70 of them were still in PA custody. “Hamas denounces the escalating violations and criminal acts by the PA security services against supporters of Hamas and the Palestinian resistance,” he added. He called on President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to stop the detention campaign.
Fatah: Unity govt not confined to 6 months
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Nov — A senior Fatah official on Sunday told Ma‘an that there was never any agreement that the Palestinian unity government would last only six months, hours after a Hamas spokesman said the government’s term had expired. Faisal Abu Shahla said that the national consensus government was assigned to carry out a number of tasks, including holding elections, “within at least six months,” but that it was never agreed that the government term would end if it did not complete those tasks within that time frame. “If the Hamas movement has retracted the reconciliation agreement and the termination of rivalry, that is a different case,” Abu Shahla said. The Fatah official added that further reconciliation discussions were pending a response from Hamas regarding the attacks with explosives against Fatah leaders’ property in Gaza and the cancelation of a ceremony commemorating the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Gaza City in early November.
Abbas: Only Hamas is responsible for the Gaza Strip
Jerusalem Post 30 Nov — Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas said that Hamas is completely responsible for Gaza, and not the joint Fatah-Hamas unity government, in a report on Sunday. “The Palestinian Authority does not exist in the Gaza Strip. Hamas is responsible for the Gaza Strip,” he said. Abbas continued, saying that he will not negotiate over land with Israel, and accused Israel of holding secret negotiations with Hamas. “I won’t give up one inch of [land past the]1967 [borders]; I have evidence that Hamas and Israel are conducting negotiations,” Abbas said. Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Malki said on Monday that the PA decided to delay its statehood bid at the Security Council, which was supposed to take place at the end of November. Malki told the Bethlehem-based Ma‘an news agency that the decision to postpone the statehood bid came following US pressure and threats, as well as the failure of the PA to secure the backing of nine Security Council members in favor of the statehood bid. However, by Saturday, Abbas changed his tune and said that if he did not receive answers from Israel regarding his demand to resume the peace talks on the basis of the pre-1967 lines by the end of the day, he would proceed with his statehood bid at the United Nations Security Council and join international organizations and treaties, including the International Criminal Court.
Is a Hamas-Egypt rapprochement in the works?
Middle East Eye 30 Nov by Mohammed Omer — A statement by a top Hamas leader in recent days, along with the temporary opening of the Rafah crossing, indicates that a rapprochement between the group and Egypt, at particular odds since the ouster of Mohammed Morsi and the subsequent destruction of vital tunnels, may be in the works. In an interview with Khaleej Online on Tuesday, Mahmoud Zahar, a top Hamas leader, said that Egypt was determined to improve and develop relations with his movement, in order to restore what has been destroyed by the overwhelmingly pro-government Egyptian media. “There are communications between Hamas and senior Egyptian officials that started last week,” Zahar said. Zahar’s statement comes during one of the darkest periods of history between Hamas and Egypt, one which most analysts say is more strained now than after Hamas’ election in 2006 when Egyptian were under pressure from the US and Israel to destroy the group’s tunnels, according to a 2009 US-Israeli Memorandum of Understanding.
Islamic Jihad urges PA to stop security coordination with Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Nov — Security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel has become a “real danger” to Palestinian national unity, the Islamic Jihad movement said Sunday. Islamic Jihad spokesman Yousef al-Hasayna said in a statement that the appreciation expressed by Israeli forces regarding security coordination “is a strike to the nationalistic values of the Palestinian security services.” Al-Hasayna said Israeli appreciation of security coordination causes a state of alienation between Palestinian security forces and the Palestinian people. Israel uses security coordination as a tool “to prevent any attempt to start a sweeping Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Jerusalem,” he said. “The only beneficiary of this coordination is the Israeli occupation.” Al-Hasayna urged the PA to release all political detainees and refrain from detaining any Palestinian over political affiliation. The Islamic Jihad remarks came after President Mahmoud Abbas threatened on Saturday to stop security coordination with Israel if peace talks were not resumed and the status quo remained unchanged.
Netanyahu meets with coalition partners in attempt to save gov’t
Ynet 30 Nov by Moran Azulay, Attila Somfalvi — After a tense week that led several of the coalition partners – notably Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni – to threaten to quit the government over stark disagreements on the state budget, the Arrangements Law and several other bill proposals, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is meeting with faction leaders in an attempt to stop his government from disintegrating. Sources close to the prime minister said Netanyahu intended “to make one last attempt to see whether arrangements could be achieved that would allow the continuation of the government, so matters of state could be managed properly.”
Large left-wing protest erupts outside of Netanyahu’s home in J’lem
Ynet 29 Nov by Noam (Dabul) Dvir — Hundreds of citizens, MKs and left-wing activists gathered outside of the home of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Saturday night to protest the legislation of the controversial nationality bill. Under heavy police supervision, the protesters chanted “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies,” and attacked Netanyahu’s conduct. “The State of Israel is led by a group of pyromaniacs and headed by an ego-maniac towards final destruction,” said former head of the Shin Bet Carmi Gillon. During the protest – one of the largest to take place outside of the Prime Minister’s house in the capital in recent years – Gillon stressed that “the law eats and will eat like a cancer in the body of all of its citizens. The continuation of the masochistic and radical policy at the Temple Mount will lead to a war of Gog and Magog against the entire Jewish nation. “Former Education Minister Yossi Sarid also spoke at the protest and said, “Netanyahu said that Israel is for Jews only, and we are here to correct him on his mistake. This is a country for all of its citizens, Jews and Arabs together. Nobody here is the tenant or the guest, and nobody alone is the landlord.”
Customer complains about Arab drivers, gets schooled by taxi app
972mag 29 Nov by Dimi Reider — At a time when Uber is getting all the headlines for all the wrong reasons, it is heartening to see another taxi app – GetTaxi, aka Gett – attracting a very different kind of press. As we reported here last week, businesses across the country are responding to the latest escalation by turning out their Palestinian employees. Last week, a GetTaxi customer, Yael, complained that too many of the drivers who appear on her app when she orders a taxi are Arab. English translation of the exchange follows the screenshot:
North Carolina county takes steps toward dropping contract with occupation-linked company G4S
Mondoweiss 28 Nov by Alex Kane — A North Carolina county seems set to drop private company G4S’ contract to provide security for libraries, parking lots and other municipal buildings. The move by Durham County commissioners followed a months-long campaign by a coalition of activists who criticized G4S, a British-Danish company, for its ties to the Israeli occupation. On Monday night, Durham County officials decided to spur their years-long contract with G4S, opting to open up a new process for choosing how to secure municipal facilities. G4S could obtain that contract again, though activists in Durham have vowed to try to stop that from happening. The North Carolina Jewish Voice for Peace chapter says that Durham County would be the first municipality to cut off ties to G4S in the U.S … G4S is a global private security company that works with the Israeli, British and U.S. governments. It has come under fire from the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for providing security services to the Israeli prison system, which locks up thousands of Palestinians. Earlier this year, G4S said it would end its dealings in Israel in the next three years. In Britain, G4S has been harshly criticized for its role in the death of Jimmy Mubenga, an immigrant who died in detention. Three G4S guards are on trial for his death. The contract that G4S lost in Durham was worth about $1 million annually.
Palestine football team the best in Asia for 2014
MANILA (WAFA) 30 Nov — The Palestinian national football team was on Sunday awarded the Best National Team prize in Asia for the year 2014. The honoring ceremony came on the sideline of the FIFA 60th anniversary celebrations that were held in the Pilipino capital, Manila. Head of the Palestine Football Federation, Jibril Rajoub, received the prize after Palestine won the Challenge Cup over North Korea’s Football Team for Juniors and Qatar National Team for Youth. The Palestinian national team also qualified for AFC Asian Cup for the first time in history. The ceremony was attended by President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, as well as other international football figures.
Analysis / Opinion
Can Israel civil society heal the Arab-Jewish rift? / Elhanan Miller
Times of Israel 1 Dec — In a country of widening divides and inflammatory government moves, coexistence initiatives are gaining traction, NGO directors say — …Israeli civil society organizations dealing with Arab-Jewish relations feel that in the absence of clear government voices fostering tolerance and coexistence, their role today is more important — albeit more difficult — than ever before. “The crisis has reached a boiling point which never manifested itself before on the constitutional level,” said Shuli Dichter, CEO of Hand in Hand, a civil society group which operates three Arabic-Hebrew bilingual schools and two kindergartens across Israel. “The [‘Jewish state’] draft bill being advanced now is extremely dangerous. If it passes we will be living in a different era, one in which the role of civil society organizations will be different.” … Israeli society is highly segregated, with some 90 percent of Arabs living in purely Arab towns and villages and just 10% in mixed cities alongside Jews. Breaking the barriers, Dichter argued, can be done in one of two ways: either by creating joint frameworks, as civil society organizations are trying to do from the bottom up, or through a bridging effort by government, top down … For Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu, co-executive director of the Abraham Fund Initiatives, an NGO committed to fostering coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Israel through educational programs and advocacy, one important role of civil society organizations is to help the government plan and implement policy that will allow for peaceful Jewish-Arab coexistence in Israel … Be’eri-Sulitzeanu cited a number of programs launched by the Abraham Fund and later taken over by government once they were proven successful. The “language as a cultural bridge” scheme introduced colloquial Arabic classes for fifth and sixth grade in 15 schools in northern Israel. The pilot, launched in 2005, has now expanded to 200 schools across the country, including all public elementary schools in Haifa and the northern district of Israel. Some 80 Arab teachers teach the language in Jewish schools, and 20% of the Jewish students also participate in cross-cultural encounter programs with their Arab counterparts. Another initiative, “policing in a divided society,” began 10 years ago and educates Israeli police officers on multicultural policing, fostering dialogue between the (predominantly Jewish) police force and the Arab communities in which it serves. Be’eri-Sulitzeanu said the Abraham Fund helps police transition from a mindset of “protecting society from the Arabs” to one of “protecting Arab society and serving it.” A third program aimed to integrate the workplace….
How easy it is to prevent escalation in Jerusalem / Amira Hass
Haaretz 1 Dec — Almost every conversation in East Jerusalem over the past few weeks has ended with the statement: “They are stupid” – meaning the Israeli government is stupid to behave in such-and-such a way toward Palestinian Jerusalem. If they would just make it easier to obtain construction permits, they say, if they would add just a few percentage points to the budget, if they would not beat demonstrators so savagely, if they did not trump up traffic violations, for example, then the clashes would not spread like wildfire. This is the consecutive third week with no age restriction on people attending Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and everything went quietly. Got that? No humiliations and restrictions, no rioting. The definition of the government’s actions as stupid is a fairly common act of generosity on the part of Palestinians, the generosity of the native-born. It is the generosity of those who are well planted in the villages and neighborhoods that have turned into slums, sealed ghettos; neighborhoods that are a mixture of wide roads for the Jews, open areas where Palestinian construction is prohibited, kitschy villas and ordinary apartments that cost 400,000 dollars, because the housing shortage is so severe. If you are Palestinian, that is. Stupidity is beyond the control of the stupid person. The poor fellow was born that way. Stupid people can be replaced and their stupid actions set right. Those who say “this is stupidity” do not say it is malice; those who diagnose stupidity do not say it is a premeditated crime … There is no stupidity here. This is a crime of discrimination being committed deliberately, with malice aforethought. It is no invention of Benjamin Netanyahu or Nir Barkat or Naftali Bennett. The intellectual property rights belong to the governments of Labor and the “moderate” Likud. To say that the Israeli governments are stupid after 50 years – or almost 70 years – of living under their rule is an act of psychological repression, with a bit of hope for redress. The last thing that can be said of the country’s leaders and high officials is that they are stupid. To say that we, the Jews, are stupid is to throw us a last rope of rescue from ourselves and our policies.
In Ferguson and beyond, ties between Black and Arab struggles for justice are growing / Muhammad Sankari
PNN 28 Nov — Young activists are building a multiracial movement for justice, making the connections between racist violence like the killing of Mike Brown and the occupation of Palestine. Among the many lessons from the struggle in Ferguson is that ties between the Arab, especially Palestinian, community and the Black community both in Ferguson and nationally are growing. Observers of the people’s uprising in Ferguson over the past several months since the shooting death of Michael Brown, anunarmed Black teenager, by white police officer Darren Wilson may have been surprised to notice these links. Those who attended the #FergusonOctober events heard “Palestine” mentioned many times from the podium, and perhaps saw a contingent of dozens of young people — Arab, Black, and Latino — marching with signs and banners in Arabic and English, as well as the ubiquitous presence of the Palestinian flag held not only by Arabs but also by many African Americans. The reasons for this collaboration are many. Young Arab activists have drawn parallels between the struggle for Palestinian liberation and the struggle for Black liberation and participated as individuals in the protests in Ferguson. Palestine solidarity organizations (made up mostly of non-Arabs and non-Palestinians) organized for the mobilizations. And most importantly, Arab community-based organizations, which have a longstanding tradition of Black/Arab joint struggle, are now playing a leading role in the people’s movement, bringing the issue of Palestine to Ferguson. In all of these cases, activists and organizations from the Black community have worked to connect Arab activists and organizers to the broader Black community in Ferguson. A clear example is the work of U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) members Suhad Khatib and Sandra Tamari, who, from the first day of the people’s uprising, have been participating in the organizing, mobilizing, and actions in Ferguson. Through their work with USPCN and the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC), Khatib and Tamari have preexisting ties to the St. Louis-based Organization of Black Struggle (OBS), a group that fights for political empowerment, economic justice and the cultural dignity of the African-American community, especially the Black working class.The two have worked to build community connections instead of just individual connections in St. Louis. Because of their relationship with OBS, they were able to immediately become involved in the Ferguson movement. Khatib opened her home to organizers from across the country, played a role in leading the Palestine Support contingent in #FergusonOctober, and recently hosted a delegation of Palestinian youth who came to learn about the Black struggle in Ferguson. And it was Khatib who, at the #FergusonOctober downtown march, proclaimed from the podium, “Black liberation leads to liberation for all!” This spirit has animated USPCN’s work across the country, including organizing for Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian leader who was recently railroaded to prison by the U.S. Attorney in Detroit. Odeh is a Palestinian elder who has been organizing for over 40 years across the Arab world and most recently in Chicago. She holds a master’s degree in criminal justice and often speaks of the desperate need of reform for the criminal justice system. Her work in Chicago through the Arab American Action Network bridges Arab, Black, and Latino communities through a simultaneous focus on racial justice and immigrant rights. In fact, after her arrest, one of the first organizations that wrote a statement of support for Odeh was the United African Organization in Chicago….
White supremacy and Zionism converge in deleted Times of Israel post on Ferguson
Electronic Intifada 30 Nov by Rania Khalek — Following an uproar on social media, a viciously racist blog post was removed from The Times of Israel. Titled “Nine Parallels between Palestine and Ferguson,” the post attacked African American protesters in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson and Palestinians as violent, “savage,” irrationally “angry” and deserving of the institutionalized state violence wielded against them. (A web cache of the article can be found here. A copy is also included at the bottom of this post.) In the now-deleted post, the writer, Robert Wilkes, a member of the advisory board and media response team at StandWithUs, embraces the increasingly popular comparison between Ferguson and Palestine. But Wilkes does so by proudly likening anti-Palestinian Jewish Israelis to American police, the real victims according to him. The post was removed despite its author being defended as an “amazing guy” by a staffer at StandWithUs, a right-wing group that works closely with the Israeli government.